Objective: This study examined the effects of the difference in friction between two distinct writing surfaces—tablet screen and paper—on writing interest, graphomotor control, and written expression.
Method: A total of 107 children, who were enrolled in kindergartens and child-care centers in Gyeonggi Province, and their mothers were the study participants. Alphabet copying and writing picture card tasks were conducted. An interview was conducted to inquire about each child’s writing interests. The mothers were asked to complete a questionnaire about the characteristics of their family and children.
Results: First, young children indicated greater interest in writing on a tablet screen, as compared to writing on paper. Second, the comparison of the writing samples created using the tablet screen and the paper indicated larger letter size, faster writing velocity, lower writing pressure, and shorter writing duration on the tablet screen. Finally, the comparison between the tablet screen and paper also indicated lower writing fluency, spacing, and directionality on the tablet screen.
Conclusion: The study shows the advantages and disadvantages of writing on a tablet screen, as compared to writing on paper. Although the tablet screen provides advantages in terms of promoting writing interest among young children, it also presents significant disadvantages in terms of writing clearly or writing fluently and conventionally. Moreover, smoother tablet surfaces require additional control of handwriting movements, which may present further challenges for beginning writers.